Dec 122015
 

The Beast Called “I”: Exploring the Repressed Identity of the Hikikomori in Anno Hideaki’s Neon Genesis Evangelion KF Harlock Perhaps not surprisingly, one of the most popular television series of the pre-millennial decade was one which dealt heavily with the themes of apocalypse and intra-societal conflict embedded in the millennial milieu. Japanese director Anno Hideaki’s Neon Genesis Evangelion, a 26-episode animated series, examines a theme endemic to Japanese society: how can an individual exert his or her individuality while living in a society that seems to demand the collectivistic repression of personal desire? For Anno, the problem has particular significance [Read More...]

Oct 262015
 
Criticism: EarthBound, Part 5 of 5

This is the fifth and final part of my review of EarthBound. You can read parts one, two, three, and four here. You can also check out a PDF of the complete review at this link. My main hope for this review is that it will do two things: 1.) help the game to be seen as fundamentally more conservative than its reputation as a subversive work normally affords, and 2.) help the cause of writing these kinds of serious reviews about things that are typically seen as “low art,” such as 20-year-old video games. If you’ve got any comments or suggestions, don’t [Read More...]

Oct 232015
 
Criticism: EarthBound, Part 4 of 5

This is part four of the ongoing EarthBound review. Read parts one, two, and three here. SWALLOWED BY THE DARKNESS IN EAGLELAND An Examination of Anomic Society and the Commoditization of Sentimentality in Shigesato Itoi’s EarthBound Part Four of Five Surreality and Normalization “Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles…” – Salvador Dali A common expression among the fans of EarthBound is that the game is enjoyable because it presents a quirky charm or a surrealistic atmosphere through creative design decisions such as having the player fight hippies rather than goblins in order to reach [Read More...]

Oct 222015
 
Criticism: EarthBound, Part 3 of 5

  This is part three of the EarthBound review. Click here to view parts one and two. Notice: All images are taken from the EarthBound fansite, Starmen.net.  SWALLOWED BY THE DARKNESS IN EAGLELAND An Examination of Anomic Society and the Commoditization of Sentimentality in Shigesato Itoi’s EarthBound Part Three of Five The Other as Enemy & a Failure of Satire   “The ‘I’ is always in the field of the ‘Other.’” – Jacques Lacan The political ideologies inherent in the paranoid science fiction of the 1950s were often veiled. However, in EarthBound, the sense of the Other is so strong that the [Read More...]

Oct 222015
 
Criticism: EarthBound, Part 2 of 5

  This is part two of the EarthBound review. You can read the first part by clicking here. I’ll be posting a link to a complete PDF with the fifth and last installment. Notice: All images are taken from the EarthBound fansite, Starmen.net.    SWALLOWED BY THE DARKNESS IN EAGLELAND An Examination of Anomic Society and the Commoditization of Sentimentality in Shigesato Itoi’s EarthBound Part Two of Five The Inevitability of Bourgeois Values “The neighborhood is nothing but a protective zone… it is a machine for making emptiness.” – Jean Baudrillard A primary quality of EarthBound, then, is that the game’s entire [Read More...]

Oct 212015
 
Criticism: EarthBound, Part 1 of 5

This is a long criticism of the role-playing game EarthBound, designed primarily by Shigesato Itoi for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in 1995. The game was critically panned upon its release, but has gathered a massive cult following over the years. This essay takes issue with the ideology embedded in the game’s narrative and setting, and attempts to highlight a connection between these elements of its design and its recent resurgence in popularity. Given the length of the essay, I’ll publish it in five parts, and include a link to a full PDF with the last installment. Notice: All images [Read More...]

Oct 182015
 

Hello, and welcome to The Critical Hit! My name is KF Harlock. This blog is a way for me to combine my two main interests: popular narrative forms (including literature, films, video games, comics, animation) and critical theory. I hope to write reviews and criticisms of popular media that are accessible to everyone, but without compromising the depth of the critical theory and political philosophy involved. Along the way, I’d also love to entertain readers and introduce them to new works, as well as, just maybe, use critical theory to chip away at the outdated barriers between “high art” and [Read More...]